Sadistik Forest – Morbid Majesties (Death Metal)

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Back to what I love the most, classic death metal! This time hailing from Finland and their Sadistik Forest. The band started in 2007 and has only had one lineup change since then, which was even before they put out their selftitled debut in 2010. With Markus Makkonen (ex-Hooded Menace) on bass and vocals duty they have one the Finnish undergrounds most talented members leading the charge. So before even starting listening to the band I know I am in for some quality death metal. Like I always do when I get a promo from a band I haven’t heard of before I need to dig into their discography to know what I am dealing with while also getting the sense of the evolution the band has had.

The road they’ve had is quite interesting. Their debut was a rather slow paced death metal album, almost dabbling in sludge and doom, whereas the sophomore Death, Doom, Radiation upped the speed and was heavily thrash influenced. With Morbid Majesties and the opener Morbidly Majestic you can still hear some thrash influences but it’s way more classic death metal in the veins of Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel with a hint of Grave. Good stuff that you’re familiar with and hits hard, a good opener to get you going. Makkonen’s vocals has improved significantly since their past albums in my opinion and it feels like he really nailing the aggressiveness this time around. Actually the whole band has evolved and the aggression, riffs with all the energy that is unleashed upon you on Morbid Majesties is in my ears a whole new beast than their previous albums. Created by Finland’s very own Demilich, Sweden’s Grave and America’s Cannibal Corpse triangle drama love child I would say. You can still hear some thrash influences on tracks like “The Hour of Dead” and sludge/doom elements from time to time but overall Morbid Majesties is more filthy death, yet cleaner in for example production (but not too clean) than before.

After the opening tracks the album does slow down a bit and have more crushing waves coming at you than constant pummelling. Both sides of the album showcasing good underground death metal that doesn’t just stick to a one trick pony. Once I am done listening through the album I feel this is a good album that will probably grow with time. There are a lot more to this album than just death metal that you eat up and spit out then go to the next act, I want to explore every inch of this album. Morbid Majesties also have the problem that I’m having a hard time selecting my favorite song. Do I want the slow beating but insanely heavy Monsters of Death that reeks of Cannibal Corpse or the moshpit opener (55 seconds in) that is Zero Progress? Doesn’t really matter as it’s candy that I want to devour and get addicted to. It’s by far their most brutal and varied offering to date which takes the band to new heights. This is the sound the band has worked on to achieve over the years and they have succeeded.

Morbid Majesties is not only Sadistik Forest best album to date, it’s one of the best albums of the year.

Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
For fans of: Demilich and Grave
Release date: May 25th, 2018
Favorite song: Monsters of Death
Score: 4.5/5

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The Metal Gamer Best of 2017

Another year another best of the year list! This one is long overdue as I planed to post this several weeks ago but something always came in the way. Some of you might know I also write for Swedish site Rocknytt and I’ve of course submitted a best of to them as well. Difference from that list versus this one is that, just as last year, my list here will be based on albums I’ve reviewed in this blog. So the two lists will differ but I rather keep my blog to the more underground music (even though I do review some mainstream stuff as well). Some big changes to this year is that the list is now a top 40. I’ve added some more categories as well with best debut, concert and more. List is in no order (except for the categories I’ve chosen) and without further ado here it is, The Metal Gamer albums of the year!

Album of the Year: Archspire – Relentless Mutation
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The complete Top 40:
Archspire – Relentless Mutation
Trivium – The Sin and the Sentence
Havukruunu – Kelle Surut Soi
Decrepit Birth – Axis Mundi
Ereb Altor – Ulfven
Evocation – The Shadow Archetype
Dying Fetus – Wrong One to Fuck With
Mordbrand – Wilt
Hour of Penance – Cast the First Stone
King of Asgard – :taudr:
Firespawn – The Reprobate
Svart Crown – Abreaction
Mordbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained
Shadow of Intent – Reclaimer
Desultory – Through Aching Aeons
Coffin Creep – Corpse Defiler
Hideous Divinity – Adveniens
Inanimate Existence – Underneath a Melting Sky
Shaarimoth – Temple of the Adversarial Fire
Throne of Heresy – Decameron
Amentia – Scourge
Legacy of Emptiness – Over the Past
Dzö-nga – The Sachem’s Tales
Solbrud – Vemod
Ofermod – Sol Nox
HerezA – I Become Death
Svartsyn – In Death
Entrails – World Inferno
Oceano – Revelation
Lorna Shore – Flesh Coffin
Enterprise Earth – Embodiment
Wolfheart – Tyhjyys
Mors Principium Est – Embers of a Dying World
Persefone – Aathma
Benighted – Necrobreed
Gutslit – Amputheatre
Corpse Garden – IAO 269
Falls of Rauros – Vigilance Perennial
Rings of Saturn – Ultu Ulla
Ne Obliviscaris – Urn

Deathcore album of the year: Shadow of Intent – Reclaimer
Technical death metal album of the year: Archspire – Relentless Mutation
Death metal album of the year: Evocation – The Shadow Archetype
Atmospheric black metal album of the year: Solbrud – Vemod
Black metal album of the year: Havukruunu – Kelle Surut Soi
Debut album of the year: Coffin Creep – Corpse Defiler
Best concert I went to in 2017: Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed and Chevelle (Royal Arena, Copenhagen, March 4th)
Five albums I missed but need to listen to:
Necrot – Blood Offerings
Phrenelith – Desolate Endscape
Fit For An Autopsy – The Great Collapse
Azarath – In Extremis
Wolves in the Throne Room – Thrice Woven
Most anticipated album of 2018: Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram

Morbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained (Death Metal)

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A band that’s had it’s ups and downs during their career is definitely Morbid Angel. While being a band that created death metal with Altars of Madness being a masterpiece every metalhead needs it’s obviously hard to review a band that’s had such a big influence. It’s been six years since the horror that was Illud Divinum Insanus and with Kingdoms Disdained I dare say Morbid Angel are back on the right track. It’s not an album that will go to history but it’s a good album that puts Morbid Angel back to where they belong, as a death metal giant. I might have had too low expectations of this album and am just too darn happy they’ve found their way again but hey let a guy be happy they are back! Actually all this album needed to do in my book was not being Illud Divinum Insanus, which says a lot.

In all honesty the only negative parts on Kingdoms Disdained is that the first half is a bit weaker than the second half of the album. However The Pillars Crumbling and onwards almost brings tears to my eyes as it’s been years since I heard Morbid Angel this good. Apart from Declaring New Law (Secret Hall), that song just feels out of place and I would honestly have a better experience as a whole if skipping it. It’s not just the riffs, the vocals or the fact that Morbid Angel pulls off a tight performance. It’s the fact that the song-writing is spot on and is touching issues happening in the world right now. For No Master, From the Hand of Kings and The Fall of Idols will be tracks I spin regulary from now on that’s for sure.

Along with Immolation’s Atonement and Mordbrand’s Wilt (super underrated band in my opinion) Kingdoms Disdained is a must have release this year for death metal fans.

Label: Silver Lining Music
For fans of: Immolation and Deicide
Favorite song: The Fall of Idols
Score: 4/5

Excommunion – Thronosis (Brutal Death/Black Metal)

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Been waiting to review this EP for quite some time now and lucky I was to receive it in the latest The Metalhead Box so I could listen to it on an actual cd. Excommunion is a band I am not too familiar with but I’ve heard good stuff about them. The band was formed in 1998, Colorado, and are known for playing brutal death metal with atmospheric black metal elements, which is exactly the reason they caught my eye. That and the two band members Christbutcher (bass, vocals) and Kyle Spanswick (guitars, vocals) both being active members of Nightbringer. So there has to be a lot of potential in a band like that.

Oh and was I right! The opener Twilight of Eschaton is freaking brutal! I swear to you this is an EP you do not want to miss. I understand perfectly what they mean with atmospheric black elements joined together with the sheer force of brutal death metal. It’s a sound I haven’t really heard before but hell I love it. You can hear that this is death metal from members you usually associate with the black metal scene with influences from both Nightbringer and Enthroned being heard here and there. Just like Morbid Angel, Incantation and Immolation makes their influences on Excommunion.

Each track stands tall on their own, none being the weak link. I could choose either one of the tracks for my favorite song, not just due to the four songs being being solid with none standing out. Rather I think they all do in their own right.

Ladies and gentlemen be taken in by this whirlwind of darkness like me, you deserve it. Thronosis is my rite into Excommunion and I am ready for them to lead the way. One of the best releases I’ve heard all year.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Excommunion
Label: Dark Descent Records
For fans of: Enthroned and Morbid Angel
Favorite song: Twilight of Eschaton
Score: 4/5

Plague Throat – The Human Paradox (Technical Death Metal)

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From India we have one of the biggest death metal surprises of the year so far in Plague Throat and their album The Human Paradox. The band plays a heavy and technical death metal style that reminds me a lot of Nile, Origin, Suffocation and Hour of Penance. That’s some big names and hard market to break into but Plague Throat makes a really good try at it and this is in all honesty the best music I’ve heard coming from India, not that I’ve heard a big deal of bands from the area though but still. So how does Plague Throat fare against those heavy hitters?

Fact is they can stand tall against them, The Human Paradox shows a lot of promise and songs like Fallible Transgression and Hour of Darkness are just as technical and good death metal like the bigger names out there. They might not have the vast experience and originality some of those bands have (or used to have at least) but The Human Paradox is an album they can build on. I totally get how Plague Throat can go on to win Wacken Metal Battle India and be seen as one of the upcoming exports that can hit it big from India as they sure got a lot of the boxes checked in for doing so.

In all honesty I had just as good of a time listening to The Human Paradox as I had with Origin’s latest album Unparalleled Universe. Only thing is it misses that stand out song like Unequivocal for example but in return I find this a more tight album all around. One thing is certain, Plague Throat is definitely the band to look out for from India as they are bound to spread their plague upon the world eventually.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/plaguethroat3
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/PlagueThroat3
Label: Transcending Obscurity India
For fans of: Hour of Penance and Origin
Favorite song: Hour of Darkness
Score: 3.5/5

Father Befouled – Desolate Gods (Death Metal)

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Since the bands formation in 2007 Father Befouled have been very active releasing two EPs, four splits and Desolate Gods will make it their fourth full-length album. This is very slow tempo, heavy death metal the way Incantation and Dead Congregation also does it. Almost on the verge of sounding doom or sludge metal at times just as they up the tempo and unleash the chaos. The atmosphere on the album is very filthy and vile, especially due to the lyrical content filled with death and blasphemy.

The album starts off with Offering Revulsion and Mortal Awakening being the raw destructive force I had in mind when I got this album. The tempo-changes hit the right spots and Father Befouled shows they have really taken a few steps in the right direction since their 2012 release Revulsion of Seraphic Grace (haven’t listen to their first two full-length albums though so have that in mind). It’s the small bits and pieces here and there which makes Desolate Gods better. The core sound is very much the same but the production and overall quality of the songs are better. There are a couple of songs I am not too sold on like Exalted Offal but Ungodly Rest instantly makes up for it as the last four tracks are also the best ones on the album.

Desolate Gods is a rather good release and Father Befouled have taken steps in the right direction to perfect their sound. I still think Father Befouled got some way to go before they can take on the beast that is Incantation for real but they are showing nice progress. Fans of the bands earlier releases or Incantation will dig this vile spawn. Desolate Gods is out now through Dark Descent Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FatherBefouled
Label: Dark Descent Records
For fans of: Incantation and Dead Congregation
Favorite song: Ungodly Rest

Valgrind – Seal of Phobos (Death Metal)

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Despite the name Valgrind being Swedish (it’s the main entrance to Valhalla) the band in itself is from Italy. If you’ve read my blog this year then you probably know by now that I really dig what Italy has produced this year, with some of the best releases having come from there. Valgrind is a band that’s been going for a long time, since 1993, but only produced demo’s until 2002 when their first EP came out then in 2012 they released their debut full-length album Morning Will Come No More. Seal of Phobos is a five track EP continuing Valgrind’s crusade and last years death metal goodness Speech of the Flame.

Seal of Phobos will leave no death metal lover standing still as it features a flurry of crushing riffs and is aggressive as hell. This will surely get your blood pumping. The bands newest member, guitarist Umberto Poncina, makes a fine debut and might be one of the reasons why this sounds like Valgrind’s heaviest release as of yet. The solos are on point and I only got one negative thing to say about this EP really, that it’s only an EP and not a full-length album! I love myself some classic death metal and when it’s done this well I can’t do anything else than to sit back, take a sip of my beer and headbang in joy. The two favorite tracks for me are the two last ones, Traitors Will Bleed and Ekphora’s Day, where Jonny Petterson (Wombbath, Ashcloud and Henry Kane) makes a great guest appearance.

Seal of Phobos is a solid pickup for anyone who wants some classic hard hitting death metal. It’s Valgrind’s most aggressive release yet and also their best, it’s looking really well for their upcoming full-length. Seal of Phobos is out now through Everlasting Spew Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/valgrindband
For fans of: Morbid Angel and Monstrosity
Favorite song: Traitors Will Bleed